A Letter from Eric Gaffney

"Hi! My last show this year, Saturday next week...Johanna Kunin (Seattle) + Eric Gaffney (Sebadoh) + Johnstons (SF)

500 4th Street at Bryant
Saturday December 9th, 2006
$8/door 9:00 PM 21 + over

About Johanna Kunin:

In August, 2006, Johanna Kunin self-released her debut full-length Clouds Electric." It was produced by Tucker Martine, who also took the helm on the latest from Laura Veirs, the Decemberists, Sufjan Stevens, and Mudhoney. The highly-influential radio station KCRW selected "Fireflies," a song from "Clouds Electric," to be Today's Top Tune for October 11th, 2006, no small achievement for an independent artist. However, Johanna was already no stranger to radio success, as her previous record, the lo-fi Sigh Lens," went to #1 on Stanford University's KZSU in April, 2006. In addition, Johanna's live performances across the US have earned her high praise in the press, as well as a coveted slot at this year's Bumbershoot Music and Arts Festival in Seattle.

Johanna Kunin will tour the west coast in early December, 2006, and the greater US in Spring, 2007. She will perform live on KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic with Nic Harcourt on December 8th, 2006."


Art Summary NYC

Jerry Saltz critiques Lisa Yuskavage's new work at David Zwirner. She's being compared to John Currin, who was recently trashed for painting preppy porn on Painter's NYC blog. Currin, for me, will always be associated with his new nickname, a phrase never before muttered by a manic, "a hegemonic cattle rancher bronzed with lasso." I love reading slapdash comments written late in the evening by poetic amateurs.

Yuskavage paint handling is nothing when seen next to Currin's. It doesn't appear that either of them is concerned with what the other is after. The only reason they're being juxtaposed is because they're both dealing with sexuality and nakedness in a backwards time. "Dejeuner sur l'herbe", as one blogger pointed out would appear to be revolutionary if it was hung this afternoon. Also, in the larger scheme of things, we're all contemporaries, and neither Currin nor Yuskavage have anything on Manet. I'd argue Currin approaches more closely that grassy day. If Yuskavage had a more subtle palette she might be taking the first step. What if her neon green had lived off the dark and damp, instead of glowing around Las Vegas nipples steeped in piss yellow? I don't think her work will hold up at all in ten years. Currin, on the other hand, may have a warm lap yet, and he won't be begging to be paid for it. Yuskavage is so hot right now, but I'm not buying it. Artists are loving hating Currin. Bitters taste good over scary wages.

On the other hand, a few of the Yuskavages stand out from the rest. When she makes a double-chin, or twee eyes I'm tempted to open my own. I can't wait to see what she does next, even though I'm peeved by some of the things she's flashing now. Being disturbed by butterflies, waxed fruit and ribbons is not so bad. Using invisible breast separators and post-operation symmetries to sell her version of femininity (even allowing for a measure of irony) is rank, even as big butts knock over fuzzy table lamps as the sun rises. I'd like to know if she can stomach her own work. Does she live with them, or pass them along quickly, after purging herself? How many times can she stare at the perfumed blinding highlight on the shiny pug nose of a woman who seems to require a leash or a milk maid?

Michael Kimmelman reviews a Currin show from back in 1999, in the New York Times, not saying much of anything. In some ways his reaction could apply to the show closing soon at Gagosian Gallery. It must be tough reviewing a show in four graphs. Why are the "art in review" articles so closely cropped? Roberta Smith is the best of the NYT reviewers at pulling out quickly and still hitting the mark. I can do without painting dealing with pretty traditional themes (fleshiness, sexuality, decadence, hedonism, emptiness, decay) in a pretty academic manner being called "jaw-droppingly, unavoidably weird." Kimmelman starts saying something interesting in the last sentence of the review, that Currin's new (at the time, it was new) territory approaches "bourgeois comfort fastidiously represented and mocked." I wonder what he would have said without the word limit imposing an awful case of coitus interruptus. More importantly, I wonder what Kimmelman would say about Currin now.

Eric Fischl, commenting during a recent Q&A session (recorded by Anaba) hated Currin's recent work, saying, "I was struck by the misanthropic animus that was being projected" and, "the caricturish _____, .. parody of it, the way he used objects to humiliate his subjects..."

Also, check out Robert Ayers interviewing Marlene Dumas.

My Latest Novel

My Latest Novel comes from Scotland.

"Their slow and sweeping orchestration recalls The Zephyrs but with a bit of the darkness and foreboding of Mogwai in their quieter moments. At other points, they sound as though they're channeling Arab Stap-era Belle & Sebastian, Stuart David's spoken-word contributions in particular (he should really get royalties for "The Job Mr Kurtz Done"). You can also pick out some Arab Strap (the band, not the album) and Delgados inspiration between the lines if you look."

They feel like Tindersticks to me.



Antidisestablishment Sectarianism

Dada in Beirut

The Washington Post reports on a farcical ad campaign mocking sectarianism, posters, newspaper ads, and billboards pasted up all over the city designating (for one) ethnicity requirements for parking spaces. Through text messaging and word-of-mouth, the free ads have been disseminated.

In Lebanon "...the president is Maronite, the prime minister Sunni, the parliament speaker Shiite. Other posts are reserved for Greek Orthodox, Greek Catholic and Druze. Boy scouts are organized by community, not country -- the Mahdi Scouts for the Shiites, for instance. Television stations have their own sectarian bent -- the Lebanese Broadcasting Corp. for Christians, Future for the Sunnis. Christians are partial to the Sagesse basketball team, Sunnis the Riyadi team. There are even two Armenian soccer teams -- Homenmen and Homenetmen -- one faithful to Armenian leftists, the other to the community's right wing. Before this summer's war, Sunni soccer fans loyal to Ansar brawled in a stadium with Shiite youths loyal to Nijmeh."

"If we keep thinking like this, the future is going to look like this," said ad agency's Kamil Kuran.

[via Grammar Police, Absurdistan]

Calling All Exquisite Corpse Couples

AdHoc is asking creative couples to submit their exquisite corpses.

Suckers and Biters: Love, Lollipops, and the Exquisite Corpse
Feb. 14 - March 5, 2007
49 Bogart St.
near the Morgan stop on the L train
Submissions deadline: Friday, Jan. 26th
East Williamsburg, NYC

Works from the show will be chosen for publication in 2008.

Glass+Ginsberg = Pynchon = Blogs Against Dead Trees

Chekhov's Mistress' Bud Parr recommends listening to Allen Ginsberg's "Plutonian Ode" while reading "Against the Day".

"I recommend as a Soundtrack to Pynchon’s “Against the Day,” Philip Glass’s Symphony No. 6 “Plutonian Ode” with Allen Ginsberg. You’re thinking this is absurd - I know - to say a modern symphony connoting nuclear disaster can capture, musically, themes from a book that begins and ends before plutonium was discovered, but I say to you it’s striking how well the music fits with the book."

He also rebuts Rachel Cooke's critique of the lit blogosphere nicely by saying,

"...blogs stand handsomely beside dead-tree media because dead-tree media has its limits in coverage and style. Those limits are thankfully turned on their head by the internet’s ability to connect thousands of people who are avid enough about books to spend their time writing about them."


Cropping the NYT Notables List

Of the NYT 100 Notable Books of the Year, these are on my TBR (to be read) list. I'm in the midst of reading two now: Black Swan Green; and the Ishmael Reed poetry collection. I would have included Joshua Clover's, The Totality for Kids, and leaned more heavily towards la poésie.

Ed points out that Scott, and Levi enjoyed Liesl Schillinger's review of Against the Day. Liessl is the best of the NYT reviewers, according to Ed. I find her writing to be the most poignant, stylistically original, believable, and sharp.

Here's a taste of Liesl on the new Pynchon,

"Where to begin? Where to end? It’s both moot and preposterous to fix on a starting point when considering a 1,085-page novel whose setting is a “limitless terrain of queerness” and whose scores of characters include the doomed Archduke Franz Ferdinand, a dog who reads Henry James, the restless progeny of the Kieselguhr Kid and a time-traveling bisexual mathematician, not to mention giant carnivorous burrowing sand lice, straight out of “Dune,” that attack passengers of desert submarines — or, rather, subdesertine frigates. In any case, Pynchon (speaking, one presumes, through his characters) dismisses the existence of time as “really too ridiculous to consider, regardless of its status as a believed-in phenomenon,” asserting that civilization has been dead since World War I and “all history after that will belong properly to the history of hell.” He also rejects a fixed notion of place. To him, delineations of the known world are merely maps that “begin as dreams, pass through a finite life in the world, and resume as dreams again.” Let us proceed, then, like Pynchon: as we wish, without a map, and by bounding leaps."

Here are my selections from the list, many of which were also recommended by lit bloggers and friends.


ABSURDISTAN. By Gary Shteyngart. (Random House, $24.95.) A young American-educated Russian with an ill-gotten fortune waits to return to the United States in this darkly comic novel.

AGAINST THE DAY. By Thomas Pynchon. (Penguin Press, $35.) In Pynchon's globe-trotting tale, set (mostly) on the eve of World War I, anarchic Americans collide with quasi-psychic European hedonists and a crew of boyish balloonists, anticipating the shocks to come.

APEX HIDES THE HURT. By Colson Whitehead. (Doubleday. $22.95.) In this parablelike novel, a commercial "nomenclature consultant" is hired to name a Midwestern town, and his task turns into an exploration of the corruption of language.

BLACK SWAN GREEN. By David Mitchell. (Random House, $23.95.) The magic of being a 13-year-old boy and exploring the world intersects, eventually, with the trials of real life.

THE ECHO MAKER. By Richard Powers. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $25.) This novel's heroine tries to help her brother after a mysterious truck crash leaves him with a rare form of amnesia.

THE KEEP. By Jennifer Egan. (Knopf, $23.95.) Old grievances drive the plot of this novel, set in a castle and a prison. Egan deftly weaves threads of sordid realism and John Fowles-like magic.

NEW AND COLLECTED POEMS, 1964-2006. By Ishmael Reed. (Carroll & Graf, $25.95.) Poetry of politics and diversity, suffused with humor.

THE POSSIBILITY OF AN ISLAND. By Michel Houellebecq. Translated by Gavin Bowd. (Knopf, $24.95.) In this new novel from the French author, a radical libertine becomes the progenitor of a line of clones.

THE ROAD. By Cormac McCarthy. (Knopf, $24.) A man and his son travel across a post-apocalyptic landscape in this terrifying parable.

SUITE FRANÇAISE. By Irène Némirovsky. Translated by Sandra Smith. (Knopf, $25.) Before dying at Auschwitz in 1942, Némirovsky wrote these two exquisitely shaped novellas about France in defeat. But the manuscripts came to light only in the late '90s.


FLAUBERT: A Biography. By Frederick Brown. (Little, Brown, $35.) The man behind "Madame Bovary" is brought to life as a romantic and a realist, a dreamer and a debunker.

THE OMNIVORE'S DILEMMA: A Natural History of Four Meals. By Michael Pollan. (Penguin Press, $26.95.) Pollan embarks on four separate eating adventures, each of which begins at the very beginning — in the soil — and ends with a cooked, finished meal.

THE UNITED STATES OF ARUGULA: How We Became a Gourmet Nation. By David Kamp. (Broadway, $26.) Personalities from Julia Child to Emeril Lagasse drive this lively history of the postwar revolution in American gastronomy.


Littlewolf on Wolf Mountain

East of East LA, Tonya Littlewolf cares for neglected and endangered wolves. "The wolves think I'm the alpha female, and you're my hairless pack."

She makes the point that, "Europeans started the myth that wolves are evil."

Wolf recovery has ranchers howling. Debates have been stewing since the mid 1990s about whether or not certain types of wolves should remain on the endangered species lists, after wolves were introduced back into Yellowstone National Park in 1995. In the early 1900s US citizens were attempting to eradicate the species entirely.

The National Wildlife Fedaration explains how "Different populations of gray wolf around the United States are protected in different ways by the Endangered Species Act." Maybe Littlewolf will help erase the archetype of Little Red and her hood.

Katie Couric Keeps Sisters Down on CBS Evening News.

Grammar Police notes that "Whatever else her tenure means, Couric seems to be keeping her sisters at CBS down:"

"Broadcasting & Cable offers an analysis of changes at the news desk six weeks into Katie Couric's tenure at CBS Evening News. It's fascinating:

[S]ince Couric's arrival, women have received 40% fewer assignments than they did under her predecessor, Bob Schieffer. Men, meanwhile, have seen no cutback in their workload."

Peace Signs are Now Considered to be Satanic

"A homeowners association in southwestern Colorado has threatened to fine a resident $25 a day until she removes a Christmas wreath with a peace sign that some say is an anti-Iraq war protest or a symbol of Satan."

What they should really fret about is the aural bombardment with Christmas carols one is forced to endure, earlier and earlier. Now, that's what I'd consider to be the work of Satan.
Associated Press


Racist SF Hotel Staff Attempt to Kick Out Kenyan Literary Guest

Ed plans to do some investigative reporting about this incident of racism against a Kenyan writer staying in a San Francisco hotel.

"After a relaxing morning of a good walk and breakfast, he returned to his hotel to sit in the veranda section of the Hotel restaurant reading his newspaper. What happened next could have been a scene from a pre-Civil Rights Era of a Black man caught in a “White Only” section of a hotel. A hotel employee approached the Professor and said:

“This place is for guests of the hotel. You have to leave.”

Handling the matter calmly and intrigued by the assertion of the man, the Professor asked

“How do you know that I am not a guest of the hotel?”

The man continued unabated “You have to leave. This is for guests of the hotel.”

“But how do you know that I am not a guest?” the Professor asked

“You have to leave.”

“But you have not even asked me if I am staying in the hotel”

‘Okay. Are you staying at the hotel?’ The tone and demeanour was of a man who had made up his mind that the Professor could not be a guest.

“Let’s us go to the reception desk,” the Professor told him.

“It is not necessary,” he said. “Just leave.”

[Black Looks, via Ed]


The Art of Gaman

SF Museum of Craft and Folk Art
The Art of Gaman
Nov 2, 2006 – Feb 25, 2007

"Based on the book The Art of Gaman (Ten Speed Press) by Delphine Hirasuna, this exhibition features arts and crafts—both decorative and essential—made by Japanese Americans incarcerated in U.S. internment camps during World War II. Most of the items are on loan from former internees and their families and are being shown in public for the first time. The craftsmanship and originality of the internees’ work make the show an inspirational experience. Poignant to view, the objects aptly capture the essence of gaman, which means “to endure the seemingly unbearable with patience and dignity.”

“Living History”
Public Program

Thursday, December 7, 5:30 – 7:30 pm

"The attack on Pearl Harbor 65 years ago brought its own sorrow and pain to the 120,000 Japanese Americans living on the West Coast. Delphine Hirasuna moderates a panel of former internees who lived through the harrowing days that led to the forced removal from their homes and exile in remote concentration camps. Free to members; $5 for nonmembers."

Day of Remembrance
Monday, February 19, 2007

"The Museum will offer free admission from 11 am – 5 pm to commemorate the signing of Executive Order #9066, which called for the internment of anyone of Japanese ancestry on the West Coast and was carried out from the Presidio in San Francisco."

[Museum of Craft and Folk Art and Contra Costa Times, via Mariko]

"They gathered shells from dry lake beds and pieced them together into tiny floral corsages. They gathered abandoned animal traps, softened the metal in coal-burning stoves, and made carving tools. They unraveled the waxy string of an onion sack and wove it into baskets.

Then, when the Japanese-Americans were released from the bleak internment camps where they spent much of World War II, they found their way home, packed the art and crafts away, and got on with their lives.

More than 60 years later, the art created behind barbed-wire fences, rediscovered by children and grandchildren, is on display as a bittersweet reminder of the wartime internment."

Pictured: The Art of Gaman: Arts and Crafts from the Japanese American Internment Camps 1942-1946. Copyright © 2005 by Delphine Hirasuna, Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, CA. Photo Credit: Terry Heffernan.
(Image / Page)
Carved Stone Teapot / 36
Carved Birds / 76


Mark Mothersbaugh Was Legally Blind

Laughing Squid posted a cool short video of Mark Mothersbaugh on Weird America talking about Devolution.

UCLA Cops Abuse Power

A UCLA library user who didn't show his student id to police was Tasered on his way out of the building, after using the computer lab. Other students who tried to get the police to stop, or give out their names and badge numbers were then threatened with the taser.

"It was the most disgusting and vile act I had ever seen in my life," said David Remesnitsky, a 2006 UCLA alumnus who witnessed the incident."

Well, David, that's nice that you're so sheltered you've never seen anything more disgusting and vile than that. I'd have had a more cynical response, having seen police abusing power many many times. The police in Los Angeles have a reputation for being particularly violent. Having seen countless acts of police brutality and sexual harrasment (including stories of rape, or asking for sexual favors as bribes) to kids during the 80s, I'm glad tasers weren't around then.

I'm, unfortunately, not shocked.

This kind of abuse of power must be stopped. I'm glad the students have been as vocal about witnessing this act of torture. Taser guns can kill, especially those most vulnerable, with sensitive systems, physical or mental problems, who may find themselves in confusing situations more frequently than others.

[Daily Bruin, via Boing Boing]


Rock Paper Scissors, Needles and Pens, Afterglow

"This Saturday, November 18, is officially Buy Local Day.

Spread the word and get out there and support stores like Rock Paper Scissors, Needles and Pens, and Afterglow this holiday season. RPS will be open 11am-7pm!

Big box stores like Wal-Mart are steamrolling their way into cities and towns throughout the country, pushing down wages and forcing small, local businesses to close because they can't compete with these mega-companies' predatory practices. But there's something we can do! On Saturday, November 18th, let's vote with our dollars in favor of locally owned, independent businesses and against the negative impacts of chain stores and big box stores on our communities! Why Buy Local?

  • Local businesses produce more income, jobs, and tax receipts for local communities than big box stores do.

  • Local businesses are more likely to utilize local ads, banks, and other services.

  • Local businesses donate more money to nonprofits and are more accountable to their local communities.

  • Supporting local businesses preserves the economic diversity of our communities and the unique character of our neighborhoods.

  • Supporting local businesses is good for the environment because it cuts down on fuel consumption. Buying locally produced goods reduces the need to ship goods from thousands of miles away and also cuts down on the distances shoppers travel."
    [from the RPS newsletter]

Chromewaves is Bragging

A critique of the new Billy Bragg boxed sets, some mp3s and vids.


On Assignment

Open letter to my friends: I've been on a special assignment, sorry I haven't called.


Hydroplaning in my cutter on Interstate 80 in a flood zone, I learned that the old standby of removing pressure from the gas and the brakes, while not attempting to steer works wonders, and impresses veterans of foreign wars.

Discovering that there is an Atlas for freight train hoppers, I recommended the photo journalism of the polaroid kid, and was offered the chance to be a box-car warmer, or to arrive via train at the hidden studio.

Acting as chauffeur to a famous award winning author and artistic genius, I learned that I am indeed a good driver, according to the genius, and the proof is that we are both still alive.

I've been one of the first journalists (to borrow from the introduction sentence of correspondence written by the unamed to justify acts of heroism far superior to just showing up) to view an immense archive of art produced by one who the Inuit call The Tourist who will for now, remain an enigma, and ethnographer of everything that is unbelievable and startlingly true.

My dissertation will soon be published in an online literary journal, and I will name myself the doctor of special operations between the pages, juggler of a broken flash mount, battery pack, digital voice recorder, nibbler of story crumbs, witness to holy removers of suffering forever singed into Norweigan wood and/or the art editor.


Hope and Horror on a Fishless Planet

I watched the election results roll in at Fireside in SF with some restaurant reviewers. So far, Democrats are up 6 seats in the Senate, with one Socialist Senator, Bernie Sanders. They're also up 29 in the House, and have gained 6 governors.

Here's an argument by kos, pointing out that many of the elected Dems are not overly conservative. Hopefully they will stand their ground on the most important issues, which are, in my opinion, ending the war, healing the environment, ending torture, supporting gay marriage, taking back civil rights, healthcare, the economy, and a woman's right to choose.

We had discussions about the desire for the agenda of the Green Party to really become viable, and why many environmentalists who care about social issues are voting for democrats, and hoping that left-leaning democrats will put the environment first. Of course many people who vote for democrats are actually greens, socialists, libertarians, or anarchists, who are accused of selling out by supporting the democratic party. But, it seems smart to me to try to end the war, torture, and global warming first, in the fastest, most pragmatic way possible, before deciding how to fight on every other important issue, like poverty, exploitation, racism, corruption, etc...

We talked about how people are mourning the future of fine dining, ie restaurants no longer offering up plates of seafood, without acknowledging that if there are no fish, there will be no birds who eat fish, no people who make their livings by fishing, or find primary sustenance from fish, and so on. Basically, if the ocean goes, so does the entire planet. Why isn't anyone discussing this more seriously? Most of the articles I've read talk about the issue like it's just going to require minor dietary alterations, not a major response to a global disaster.

In the meantime, the horror continues. Bush has nominated a former associate of the Iran/contra players to be the new Secretary of Defense.

[stats from Daily kos]


+1 Democrat, Gov of Massachusetts

From the kos' governor's races thread, which will be continuously updated. So far we have Massachusetts: Deval Patrick (D).

Vermont +1 Socialist, Ohio +1 More Democrat

From the kos comments, with regards to Bernie Sanders, "America now has a socialist Senator. Somewhere, a Republican's brain is exploding."

Also, welcome Sherrod Brown (D) pickup in the Senate in Ohio.

Ohio + 1 Democrat

Plus one for the Democrats in Ohio with Governor Ted Strickland (D).

Laughing Squid Turns Two Decades

"Join Laughing Squid as we enter our 2nd decade at our 11th anniversary party.

Saturday, November 18th, 2006
$8 (in advance), $10 at the door
21+ event
119 Utah Street (between Alameda & 15th Streets)
San Francisco, CA 94103
Google map

Master of Ceremonies:

Performances by:
- Mr. Lucky & The Cocktail Party
- Twilight Vixen Revue
- Gameshow by RICK! and Slim
- Freakotronic

- DJ Big Daddy
- DJ Justin Credible
- DJ tOaD & DJ timmmii

Art Cars:
- VainVan & MondrianMobile by Emily & Ken Duffy
- Flivver by Joy Johnston
- Drala Dragon Wagon by Bruman Bjerke
- Eartha Karr by Blake More
- Legojeep by Kevin Mathieu

- Lights by Coil
- Neverwas Runabout
- Fire Cannon by Jon Sarriugarte
- Mars Rover, R2D2, Chapok, The Andoroid’s Bartenderby David Calkins (RoboGames) and Simone Davalos (Suicide Bots)
- Photoboof
- BuddaHCookieS by Gaspo
- The Popcorn Guys
- The Doggie Diner Dog Heads of The Holy Trinity of the Dogminican Order"

[Laughing Squid]
photo credit: Brian McCarty

Penguin Cover Designers

"Re-covered... (from left) Fuel's Dostoyevsky in brown craft paper, Ron Arad's stripped-down binding for The Idiot, Paul Smith's Lady Chatterley's Lover in silk, Manolo Blahnik's saucy Madame Bovary and Sam Taylor-Wood's moody design for Scott Fitzgerald"

The Guardian talks with five of the cover designers who recovered the Penguin Classics.

Manolo Blahnik, on redesigning the cover of Flaubert's Madame Bovary,

"I love Penguin. I had the orange and white paperbacks on my shelf when I was a boy in the Canary Islands, so I have a strong affection for them. As a child I used to hear my mother say how wonderful Flaubert was, and Madame Bovary was her favourite of his novels, so I read it when I was about 12, but didn't enjoy it that much at all. Later, when I was living in Geneva, I saw a wonderful movie of L'Éducation Sentimentale that pushed me to read Madame Bovary again, and I was absolutely enchanted by it. It gave me an incredible passion for Flaubert's writings."

[via Scott]

Having Any Trouble Voting?

Report voting problems here.

Republicans Emit Vile Skunk Aroma and Death Threats

"The headquarters for Jay Fawcett's campaign for Colorado's 5th Congressional District was vandalized overnight and a death threat - the third such threat - was also emailed to Fawcett. Both incidents have been reported to the police.

As voters headed to the polls, Fawcett campaign volunteers arriving at campaign offices were greeted with a vile "Skunk" aroma, making it virtually impossible to conduct work there."

[From the kos]

Live Cinema Lab Grafts Projectors

"THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 9th at 7:30 pm, NINTH STREET INDEPENDENT FILM CENTER, 145 Ninth Street (near Mission St.), San Francisco Cinematheque and Ninth Street Independent Film Center presents...

The first ever, LIVE CINEMA LAB...with Loren Chasse and Keith Evans in person. Hold onto your seats because the LIVE CINEMA LAB takes you out of them and into an up-close and personal performance space of physical phenomenon and landscape awareness. Sound and image artists Loren Chasse and Keith Evans, our Artistic Lab directors for the NOVEMBER 9th evening experiment, mix mad science with cinematic technique when they graft together old projectors, sound devices and various found materials. Come be witness to the LIVE CINEMA LAB's very own idiosyncratic cinema. There will be a short intermission with food and drink.

ADMISSION:$8 general $6 Cinematheque members, seniors, and students (w.ID) for advance tickets: 415-978-ARTS"

[SF Cinematheque]


Announcing Aboriginal Bicycling Culture in Art, 2007

I'll be in a show at the AGSM Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba in an exhibition on Aboriginal cycling culture from May 3 to June 9, 2007. Come to Canada. Bring your bike.


Friend's of Brad Will Create Memorial Site

Here's the website created in honor of Brad Will, the documentary filmaker who was recently shot and killed in Oaxaca.

For more about Brad's murder read this,"Mexican government-backed paramilitaries attacking the popular occupation of the city of Oaxaca killed human rights activist and Indymedia journalist Brad Will."

The Friend's of Brad Will site also list some facts about Oaxaca:

"Oaxaca is a major international tourist destination, with its vibrant folklore, architecture, and scenery. It is also the second poorest state in Mexico – 75% of its 3.4 million residents live in extreme poverty.

Poverty in Oaxaca is the direct result of neoliberal economic policies that Mexico’s government has followed over the past two decades. These have included slashing subsidies on necessities like gasoline, electricity, bus fares, tortillas, and milk. The government also closed iits CONASUPO stores, which bought corn at subsidized prices from farmers to help them stay on the land and sold tortillas, milk, and food to the urban poor. Meanwhile, the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement forced Mexico to open its agricultural market to heavily subsidized U.S. agribusiness. The result: Many thousands of rural Oaxacans, unable to make a living on the land, today support their families by working in the U.S. and sending remittances back home.

Oaxaca also has one of the most repressive and corrupt regimes in Mexico, dominated by the PRI, formerly the country’s ruling party. Although the PRI was ousted from the presidency siz years ago by Vicente Fox’s PAN, the PRI continued to control the state under Governor Ulises Ruiz. The Ruiz regime followed the same neoliberal economic policies that Fox espouses, practiced corruption, intimidation, and censorship, enforcing its will through gangs of thuggish paramilitaries.

In May, Oaxaca’s 70,000 teachers went on strike for higher salaries and to end censorhsip, arbitrary jailings, and other human rights violations. Over 120,000 Oaxaca residents joined them in the largest rally in the state’s history. Ruiz promised business owners he would put down the protest with a heavy hand. At four in the morning on June 14, he launched an attack on the people occupying the city square with helicopters, clouds of tear gas, and a charge to hundreds of police. Scores were beaten and one pregnant woman miscarried. But the teachers retook the square, and the following morning 300,000 people marched through Oaxaca demanding Ruiz’s resignation. A major popular uprising was in motion." [Friend's of Brad Will]

"According to Reporters Without Borders, three people have been identified as suspects for the murder of Brad Will: municipal policeman Juan Carlos Soriano, municipal personnel chief Manuel Aguilar, public security director Abel Santiago Zárate and a member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which controls the state government, and Pedro Caramona, a former paramilitary. No arrests have been made so far."



Jane Dark reviews The Science of Sleep.

Peter Kuper makes documentary comic strips, recording what's going on in Oaxaca.

Lieberman campaigners are sending out direct mail attacking kos, and acting like thugs.

The latest installment of the Bat Segundo show is out, wherein Ed interviews George Ilsley and Matt Cheney, BSS #75.

Actress who starred in Hal Hartley films, and more recently in Factotum has been found dead in her office, RIP Adrienne Shelly. She has a three year old daughter.

A revolutionary Manet Exhibit at MoMA, "Manet and the Execution of Maximilian" opens Sunday.

The Online Education Database points to better research tools than Google or Wikipedia, deep web search engines that dig through the invisible web, art databases, librarian's resources, ebraries, etc...


Google News Poetry

My experimental Oulipian poem Save Dead Crisis has been published on 3by3by3, following these rules,

1) Pick 3 stories from Google News.

2) Using only words that occur in the first few paragraphs of each story, make a poem with 3 stanzas, 3 lines each, no more than 60 characters per line.

3) The 3-word title should use a word from each story.


Filming the Electronic Vote

SF 360 lists recent indie films about our flawed electronic voting systems in Stand Up, Be Counted.

Dorothy Fadiman's "Stealing America, Vote by Vote"
Adam Del Deo and James D. Stern's "So Goes the Nation"
Simon Ardizzone and Russell Michaels' "Hacking Democracy"
David Earnhardt's "Eternal Vigilance: The Fight to Save Our Election System"
and Ian Inaba's "American Blackout"


McMurderous Close-Up

Jane Dark faults The Last King of Scotland for overempahsizing the drama of the sexualized white individual, and the rack-focus, tight-shot plotline which pans quickly past the larger picture of Uganda in the 70s. "One goes to watch the purported star do his thing, but for the most part can't see the Forest for the trees."

I was wondering why "King" and "Scotland" were two words that ended up in the title of a film about Edi Amin's Uganda, besides the obvious reference to the title Amin gave himself, they seem to imply that this is a European fairy tale, with a bit too much superficial irony. I was pretty sure the atrocities against hundreds of thousands would not be given much stage time when compared to the crisis faced by one doctor, and was expecting to be disappointed by that. It does seem, from what I've heard so far, to overemphasize the white physician's role, and the central climax revolves around miscegenation. I haven't seen the film yet, so I can't offer my personal opinion, but will point you to Jane Dark's brief and biting Review.

"This, finally, is a quite ludicrous structuration, even within the context of single-subject cinema: less a story of Africans getting fucked by the white man than yet another projection of the boundless historical power of the white dick. The best one could hope for in this movie, in other words, is to watch an actor's attempt to inhabit a consciousness unfamiliar both to him and to us, and to see what that might be like; one gets a bit of this, and its pleasure. For the most part, however, one endures not the worst but finally the most predictable substitute, a kind of "idea" that has the force of perfect idiocy."

[Jane Dark's Sugarhigh]


If We Were Moons, If We Were Ghosts, Tract Records Update

These Tract Records items are available to order as of October 31st, 2006:

+++Sarah Asher - "It's Only Love 3" CDEP, TR047, Columbus, Ohio mainstay in the vein of Josephine Foster or Jolie Holland

+++Derek Joe Brockett - "LOAF 3" CDEP, TR043A, Gothic Captain Beefheart Spaghetti Western, where William Burroughs teaches Pussy Galore how to shoot a 12 Gauge. For Piggy

+++Everything Is Fine - Flares CD, TR046, Reissue of a 2004 cassette-only release plus the four tracks from the now out of print 'A Formal Apology' compilation

+++THEATH - Do You Know How Much I Hate Heartbeats? CD, the fifth annual Halloween release...22 minutes of subterranean rumblings; atypical material for open-minded fans of 1950s sci-fi soundtracks. Super Limited to 22 copies. TR048

+++IF WE WERE MOONS: 4-way Split CD Viking Moses, Tiny Vipers, Boo Hiss, Carbonic Exclusive material in silk screened jackets. limited to 200 copies

+++If We Were Ghosts: 4-way Split CD, TR015, this replaces the long promised The Strugglers / The Virigina Reel split (hence the low catalog number). The Strugglers, Pink Nasty, The Black Swans, The Virginia Reel. Limited to 200 copies in silk screened jackets. Vintage Strugglers / Virginia Reel complimented by the epic "Autumn, Autumn" by Columbus, Ohio's The Black Swans and the infamous Pink Nasty delivers a set of exclusive tracks as well

[Thomas Heath, Tract Records Newsletter]